Christmas Kill or Cure: The Kimchi Michelada

It’s starting to feel a lot like Christmas. Tree is up, fires are lit and I awake with that fuzzy feeling that I indulged a little too much the night before. Sound familiar? These mornings require more than a hit of caffeine. Restorative hair of the dog is required; a bit of kill or cure with a stiff Bloody Mary perhaps. Tricking yourself that the presence of tomato and a celery stick can excuse a generous slug of vodka. The self deception works for me, getting around the feeling that it’s too early with the knowledge that it’s drinking time somewhere in the world. Even at 8am.


If vodka with your toast isn’t going to fly then there’s always the Michelada, essentially a beer Bloody Mary. Purists may be whincing at the thought of mixing a beer cocktail but trust me that when done well the Michelada will keep you coming back at any time of the day.

My method is from Ozo Bakery and Bar on the edge of New York’s Chinatown. It’s not any old Michelada, but one that packs a good deal of Kimchi. The bars not so secret ingredient.

It was back in August that Lou and I stopped into Ozo for happy hour. I immediately went with the Lagunitas IPA while Lou deliberated over cocktails. The barman advised that the Michelada was a favourite and as I sceptically sipped my IPA I became more and more intrigued as the theatre of the cocktails construction unfolded. Seeing our interest he talked us through the process. Our own cocktail masterclass for the price of a 2 for 1 round. So here’s what you need.

The Mix:

Tomato juice mix with added Kimchi is preferential. To my knowledge this would have to be your own mix. At Ozo they make it themselves. Alternatively a clam juice mix like Clamato can be pre bought, but won’t quite match the Kimchi punch.

Worcestershire Sauce, 4 shakes.


Mexican hot sauce. Our chosen sauce is Cholula but experimentation is the key to finding your Michelada.

The Beer:

Mexican light beer. Ozo used Pacifico, but there’s nothing to stop you experimenting with other brands or even styles to add body.

To Serve:

A tall glass, over ice, with crushed sea salt and pepper coating the rim.

So there you have it, a Mexican beer cocktail with a Korean twist, added Worcestershire kick via New York. Truly a world class hangover cure. I’ve not had one this Christmas, but when I do the picture will be attached here. What’s your favoured hair of the dog?

Christmas Kill or Cure: The Kimchi Michelada

New York: Prime Burger, 5 East 51st Street btw Madison and 5th Avenue

“What’s good?”

“Err [waiters eyes roll upwards, but he stops short of slapping his forehead]… The clue is in da name… We’re Primeburger. We do burgers. We’ve been doing them since 1938… [leaning forwards] Y’know, we’re pretty good at them by now.”


To be fair the menu is extensive but we take his point and order two cheeseburgers. They are simple and no nonsense. Plain bun, good meat patty with your selection of toppings. As the waiter tells us “at Prime Burger, everything is a la carte”. It’s well regarded but probably not going to top any foodie best burger lists but for me the charm of Prime Burger would put it firmly on mine.

If proper New York banter isn’t enough, then the opportunity to live out a Mad Men fantasy should tip the balance. The 50s / 60s original decor could be lifted straight out of the show with Don Draper sat drinking coffee and contemplating life over the days second packet of cigarettes. It’s an authentic slice of New York which shouldn’t be missed. If you are not sold at this point I’d suggest the nearest Wendy’s and ask you never to darken this blogs doorstep again.



Prime Burger, 5 East 51st Street btw Madison and 5th Avenue

New York: Prime Burger, 5 East 51st Street btw Madison and 5th Avenue

Englishman in New York: the Hurricane formerly known as Irene

So Irene has come and gone. By the time she reached New York City, CNN were telling us that she’d been downgraded to a tropical storm. All the same the rain was banging at the window and the horns on the fire trucks could be heard all night. Screaming in the street at 2am put me on edge and it made for a fitful nights sleep.

For 24 hours we were confined to the hotel without knowing for how long, whether the power would stay on, whether the water would stay on. We had food, bottled water, some beers and tap water in ice buckets (just in case we were talking days). We were issued with glowsticks and hand fans. If the power didn’t go off we could always have a rave was the thought.


The hotel staff at the Hudson were and continue to be great. Dressed in black I Love NY t-shirts they went about delivering service as if there was just a smattering of rain outside. Most guests took it in their stride while others were visibly distressed. One in tears as her flight had been cancelled was comforted by a receptionist with reassurance. It’s moments like this when I’m glad we didn’t go down the bargain route. The hotel bars for the most part were open, a cinema room and drawing station were set up and messages left on in room answer-phones from the exuberant General Manager. It took on a strange cruise ship vibe as you walk the common areas. I’m yet to find the shuffleboard.

After a few drinks in the bar, a Magic Hat #9 by candlelight, it was back to the room for a Barney Greengrass dinner of bialy, pickled herring, potato salad and pickles. A little bit of channel hopping before that fitful nights sleep. Strip away the news coverage and twitter and I think sleep would have been easier.


We’ve not ventured out yet but the streets seem to be returning to normal.


Englishman in New York: the Hurricane formerly known as Irene

Englishman in New York: Waiting for Irene

With a week in New York there’s always going to be new experiences, but preparing for a hurricane isn’t one you’d expect. After the earthquake which we didn’t feel, the talk of Irene took a while to take hold of our attention. Once the Mayor, the Governors of New York and New Jersey and finally the President had made televised addresses our attention was gripped.

New Yorkers seemed to go about their business in much the same way as Londoners. There’s a calm cynicism as mist people heed the warnings. Supermarkets were open throughout the night to meet demand but there wasn’t the crazy panic buying you’d maybe expect. Water and potato chips seemed to be the waiting for Irene staples but New Yorkers at Whole Foods on Columbus Circle supplemented the staples with sushi, Tibetan tofu rolls and coconut water.


In the beer aisle it’s just me and another guy calmly surveying our hurricane drinking choices. With the possibility of spending 72 hours indoors without the guarantee of any hotel services being available a few decent bottles were required. Having sampled the Coney Island Blockhead and Rogue Chipotle Ale earlier in the week I reverted to Californian and Japanese with Stone, Lagunitas and Hitachino with a Pretty Things thrown in for East Coast balance. It’s enough to ride out the storm but not be incapable should any evacuation be required.


Supplies in hand we head out to Columbus Circle. Queues are forming to get into the store and the missus has the satisfied look of I told you so. I was resistant to spending possibly hours in the Market. In the end I should have known she’s pretty much 95% right in most situations.

With the MTA (buses, trains and subways) shutting down on mass at midday on Saturday there was just enough time for breakfast and further stocking up at Barney Greengrass (bialys and herring being essential hurricane food) before heading back to the hotel to hunker down with a muted CNN and a good book.

Englishman in New York: Waiting for Irene

Q&A with Lee Williams: GBGH Brewing & Hoptopia

The Q&A this week is back over to the other side of the Pond. We hear from the other half of the GBGH Brewing crew and Hoptopia honcho, Lee Williams. Possibly the busiest man in beer.

What’s most likely to be heard on brewday, in the pub, when writing?

Brewday: Asking, my girlfriend (Stevie Caldarola – the brewer) – “What’s the Hop Schedule?”

Pub: Asking, anyone I happen to be sitting next to – “What are you drinking?”

Writing: Asking, my girlfriend – “Is there anymore coffee?”

Favorite place to enjoy a beer – locally, further afield?

Locally: Rattle N Hum, Manhattan, NYC – the only place in all NYC that really gets craft beer – the place isn’t pretentious and gets the freshest beer. 44 taps that are clean and have a high turn over.

Further afield: Falling Rock, Denver, Colorado – a true, real beer, Holy Grail.

If not for beer I’d be…

Back in the music business, promoting new artists and writing about them – it’s the only other “world” I understand, and am remotely at home in besides, beer.

Definition of a perfect pub?

The one I will one day build and manage!

Beer or Pub hell?

Any place that isn’t enlightened enough to have even one real ale or craft beer on tap – it’s 2011, get with program… if you want to still be in business in 2013. If not, that’s your choice and you can’t complain when you file for bankruptcy. Slaves to macro beer and macro way of thinking in general, are doomed.

What was the last thing you got excited about?

Right now, I’m excited about trying to figure out how I can get my hands on 2 bottles of Närke Kaggen! Stormaktsporter, an exceptionally rare Swedish Stout – only available at a few places in that country. I thrive on challenges, life is so dull without them.

Whats happening?

Moving to Denver to pursue a career in the craft beer industry – we’re moving early Summer.

Lots more Hoptopia; it’s my baby – I love writing about beer.

Helping my girlfriend perfect a book of stellar beer recipes that will be GBGH (Go Big or Go Home) Brewing’s first commercial offerings in 2013 or 2014.

Q&A with Lee Williams: GBGH Brewing & Hoptopia